Glossary of Jewellery Making Terms

We have tabulated many of the terms used on this site.

AB See Aurora Borealis.
Acculon Proprietary name of stringing material. Multiple stainless steel strands within a plastic sheath. Needs careful handling since it is prone to kinking. Otherwise known as Tigertail; a stiff thread, no need to use a needle, one of the most commonly used stringing material and the one we sell most of.
Anneal Heat treatment to metals and glass that alters the crystal structure of the material. The effect is to softens metal (before working) and to toughen glass (to finish a pendant for instance).
Antiqued Used to describe the black tarnishing on silver beads. The oxidisation is achieved by dipping the component in a sulphurous solution, then polishing leaving the voids black. Proprietory 'antiquing solutions' are available, or you can make your own from Liver of Sulphur.
Aurora Borealis Rainbow like (partial) coating, mostly associated with crystal, gives off a special effect to beads such as Swarovski or firepolish crystal.
Bali Silver Cast Sterling Silver Beads, (92.5% silver). Our Bali silver is made in Bali.
However, the name is generically used for similar products made in India.
Baroque Random shaped nugget bead or pearl, often with imperfect nacre.
Beadalon Proprietary name of stringing material (currently state of the art). Multiple stainless steel strands within a plastic sheath. Strongest and most flexible, does not normally kink and can be knotted. Considered to be the premier stringing material; a stiff enough thread to mean the jewellery maker does not need to use a needle to use this product for stringing, this is the most fabulous product to use for jewellery making.
Belcher Chain A type of trace chain of which the links are made of broad D-section wire.
BIWA Lake Biwa in Japan originated the production of cultured pearls cultivated in freshwater mussels. More recently, Biwa pearls refer to pearls cultivated in freshwater mussels anywhere in Japan.
Bugle Tube shaped glass bead.
Cabochon Shaped stone or bead with a flat base suitable for a mount fitting.
Crimp Small tubular metal fitting, used to form loops on flexible beading wire, when compressed with suitable pliers.
Curb Chain A basic chain with a 90° twist in each link. This allows the chain to lay flat.
Czech Glass Previously known as Bohemian glass, often associated with pressed glass; increasingly Bohemian glass is competing with other premier beadmaking areas of the world and an increase of lampworked glass is coming out of the region - Bohemian glass has been produced for many hundreds of years.
Dichroic Glass A type of glass that reflects and transmits different wavelengths of light, thus visually appearing as different colors in reflected and transmitted light. The dichroic effect is achieved by coating thin layers of various chemicals or metals on the surface of clear glass.
Druzy The fine surface coating of crystals that occur in a cavity or void within a stone.
Eyepin Wire with a preformed loop. Used to pass through an item to join to other components.
Finding Generic term for the metallic and other components used for mounting beads and stones.
Fine Silver Silver with content of 99% or greater pure silver
Firepolished Beads Often produced by Czech glass beadmakers; firepolished crystal are faceted glass beads which are allowed to 'melt' a little in the kiln to give a special soft faceted effect.
Foiled Bead Glass bead with a precious metal lining within the bead (can be silver, gold, platinum or a combination of these) - gives an inner iridescence to the bead.
French Wire See Gimp Wire.
Fused Glass Layers of coloured glass fused into pendants or cabochons.
German Silver A shiney metal alloy which does not contain silver. BeadAddict does not sell German silver. Also known as Tibetan Silver.
Gimp Wire Fine protective wire that covers silk thread ends to give a professional finish and delay wear from the findings. Also known as French or bullion wire.
Gold Filled Base Metal with a gold layer mechanically applied. The gold content is 1/20th the total weight of the component. The gold is much thicker than a gold plated item.
Hallmark A series of stamps that verify the metal content and purity of precious metals. See more here
Handmade Glass See Lampwork Glass.
Headpin A wire finding with a stop at the end of it - use to thread on beads or other findings to make dangles, earrings, etc etc.
Heishi Small tubes, also known as 'liquid silver', used to make silver tube jewellery, with or without other beads.
Italian Glass Venetian glass from the island of Murano off the coast of Venice - weI consider Venetian glass beads to be some of the most beautiful in the world.
Jump Ring Wire loop that can be opened and closed, using pliers to join components. Can also be soldered to form a complete link.
Karen Silver Silver produced in Northern Thailand by the Karen hill tribe. The silver content is 99-99.9% pure silver. Also known as Tribal Silver.
Lampwork Glass Handmade glass beads formed by adding molten glass to a mandrel in a high temperature flame, then annealed in a kiln overnight to even out stresses within the glass.
Lost Wax A casting process where a wax replica of the finished piece is used to make a mold. The mold is heated which melt the wax leaving an exact impression. The casting is completed by pouring molten metal into the mold which is then destroyed to remove the components. Many of our silver beads are made this way. Higher precision may be achieved by spinning the mold in a centrifuge.
Memory Wire Specially ultra-hard coiled wire which requires special cutters; always pings back into shape time after time, and is ideal for 'wrap' style bracelets or neat collar style necklaces.
Murano Glass Venetian glass from the island of Murano; world famous for its quality beadmaking throughout the world.
Nymo Proprietary name for single-strand beading thread; use with beading needles (either the rigid or collapsible eye type).
Rocaille Tiny glass beads, also known as seed beads.
Seed Bead see Rocaille.
Silk Thread Often used for pearl stringing/knotting - available in a variety of colours.
Split Ring Double wire loop somewhat like a jump ring but the overlap ensures that no gap allows your stringing material to fall through - I use these to fit my findings onto (e.g., clasps) before fitting the split ring onto the stringing material which has been crimped into a loop.
Stabilisation/ Impregnation A clear resin or wax is absorbed into a porous stone which would otherwise be unusable due to it's fragility. Turquoise and Jade are often stablised
Sterling Silver International silver standard of minimum 92.5% pure silver. Often abbreviated as STS
Swarovski Invented by Daniel Swarovski, this crystal is currently acknowledged as the market leader in crystal and crystal beads in the market ; beautiful shining crystal, this crystal arguably cannot be beaten for quality and shine - available in a range of shapes and colours and coatings.
Tibetan Silver A shiney metal alloy which does not contain silver. BeadAddict does not sell Tibetan silver. Also known as German Silver.
Tigertail Flexible multiple strand thread coated with plastic.
Tribal Silver See Karen Silver
Vermeil Sterling Silver component plated with 22ct Gold.